CrazySexyCool – the TLC Story

I cried last night.

CrazySexyCool: the TLC story made me do it.

Everyone that knows good music knows TLC, but not everyone knows the truth and the whole story about one of the biggest hip hop/R&B girl groups of all time. The truth about their ups and downs, both private and as a group, with fatal diseases, trouble with the law, each other and the record label.

Success does not come without controversy.

TLC burst onto the scene in 1992, and the debut album “Ooooooohhh… On the TLC tip” sold over 6 million copies worldwide. But the girls stayed broke, because of a dusky contract with the record company (former manager Pebbles was not happy to see how she was portrayed in the film).

Their second album CrazySexyCool sold over 23 million copies, and the three singers Tionne “T-boz” Watkins, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas became the brightest shining stars on hip hop heaven. The film shows how each one of them represents hip hop/funk, rap and R&B and how they eventually got shaped into TLC, with a few changes in cast.

This biographical film starts from the very beginning, when the girls were little kids, and how they already knew that they were going to be stars and perform for thousands of people worldwide.

At first I was a bit sceptical when I heard that Niatia “Lil Mama” Kirkland was playing the role of the late Lisa Left Eye (my favourite female rapper, poet and amazing woman that won five Grammys for her work with TLC). But my scepticism turned into tears. Lil Mama played the role with credibility and trust. She played it with just the same attitude, anger and personality as I imagine Left Eye had. She was more than believable when she personalised Left Eye’s strong need to prove her independence, her drinking problems and her violent moments and at the same time her spiritual side and her need to regularly visit the jungle in Honduras, which eventually became her death.

When the film ended, I had to watch it again. And I’ll probably see it tonight too. I have to say that the casting to this film was genius, Keke Palmer as “Chilli” was a perfect match, as they both have a more soft and natural appearance, Drew Sidora as “T-boz” was convincing, although they are not very equal in appearance (despite the short blonde hair). Also, both Thomas and Watkins served as executive producers.

I don’t know why this film touched me so much. Maybe because TLC had so much impact on my teenage years; their songs, their attitude, their tomboyish looks and their realness.

I had never heard of the group’s financial problems, and how severe they actually were. At the same time as CrazySexyCool sold enormously, received a “diamond certification” from the recording industry association, won Grammys for best R&B Album and best R&B performance, the three members filed for bankruptcy due to Watkins medical bills and Left Eye’s insurance payments after setting her boyfriend’s house on fire…

Needless to say, I recommend this film to everyone, whether you are a documentary, music, or hip hop lover, I think that anyone can relate to this film and the story itself, how music can save lives and how important it is to be able to express oneself.

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